Gig economy appeal heads to Supreme Court

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Aug 10, 2017
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The Supreme Court has not yet considered any of several rulings that employees have wrongly been classed as independent contractors without worker benefits

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Tussling over the “gig economy” is to move to the country’s highest bench, as Pimlico Plumbers has been granted permission to take an appeal against a recent ruling to the Supreme Court.

The court confirmed yesterday that the London business had been granted permission to appeal in a dispute over whether Gary Smith should be classed as a “worker” within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Working Time Regulations 1998. Court of Appeal judges backed Smith’s claim in February, ruling that Smith was entitled to basic employment rights, including holiday pay, and the national minimum wage.

No date has been set for the landmark hearing, which is likely to have widespread ramifications for a range of businesses. Employment tribunals have ruled that several delivery companies and the taxi app business Uber have been misclassifying their cycle riders and drivers.

Rachel Farr, and employment specialist lawyer at the City of London law firm Taylor Wessing, said: “The Supreme Court’s judgment will be as important to mainstream businesses, many of whom use self-employed contractors, as to gig economy platforms.” 

“We have not yet heard how or if the government intends to implement the findings of the Taylor Review,” she continued, referring to the recent report on the gig economy, “but the Supreme Court's decision will also be applied by UK courts in other cases.”

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